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Let us now return to the four plans proposed by which the young artisan who, deficient in mental training, is to square himself with the other members of the class. To require all applicants for admission to our mechanical engineering courses to have served an apprenticeship at one trade is to throw a burden on the trades which they do not seem to be disposed to carry for their own salvation, let alone for philanthropy's sake. It is also going on the assumption that one trade, presumably the machinist's, and only to the extent of the three years of an apprenticeship, is all that the mechanical engineer needs to be acquainted with
To reduce the requirements for admission to "shop experience and a good grammar-school education,” would be a long step backward and downward, and would lengthen the present courses by at least two years.
To introduce the elective system may solve the problem, if the faculty, or one of its members, do the selecting of the work for each student according to his preparedness. This is the practice of many schools at present with irregular and special students, and requires much foresight and firmness on the part of the adviser. To let the young student be his own director,
. and to let him decide what course he shall take to prepare himself for what he thinks is engineering, is to introduce disorder and to put a premium on ignorance, and to require a much larger teaching force. In a recent case, the young man selected steam engineering, machine design and the like, and left out the calculus, analytical mechanics, and allied subjects. His idea was that mechanical engineering was a trade which would teach him how to build and run engines. He had not yet grasped the idea of designing, except as a rule of thumb founded on experience.
In the opinion of the writer, the engineering colleges would benefit themselves and the profession by offering special inducements to men who had served their time in the shops, by mapping out a course and arranging a schedule by following which they could reach the coveted goal. In the case of State institutions, such a schedule can probably be formed from existing courses in the university, or, if necessary,
in conjunction with the nearest high school.
The observation of the writer has been that some of the best and most successful mechanical engineers, and this applies also to teaching engineers, are those who have had the largest experience in the shops and drawing room in actual constructive work. Second, that those schools are growing most rapidly which have the shop-course most fully developed. And third, that the number of mechanics who are applying for admission to our engineering colleges, and who are anxious to take a full technical course, though small in numbers at present, is rapidly increasing.
If, without lowering the standard required for graduation, many men can be added to the profession who are well endowed with mechanical skill and engineering sense, though deficient in early mental training, is it not the duty of the technical schools —at any rate of those institutions receiving governmental aid—to make the path of such young men straight and plain?
PROFESSOR STORM BULL said that he had been very much' interested in this paper and in a conversation with Professor Magruder before the paper was read. He knew that the one letter which did not receive an answer came to the University of Wisconsin. That is one of the reasons why the speaker wished to say a few words in reference to the mechanics who like to come to the University. The institution with which the speaker is connected is one of those in which mechanics are received on special conditions. They must, at least, have served their time; they may, for instance, have spent three or four years in some machine shop; they are received without examination ; that is, if they can show conclusively that they have sufficient knowledge to follow the courses offered in the University. In order to follow the courses in engineering, in machine design, in steam engineering, they must have mathematics; that is, it is necessary for them to have algebra and geometry, subjects which are not taught at the University. If they have this knowledge, then they are allowed to take studies which they are capable of following, but they are not allowed to graduate except by making up the studies required for admission. The speaker had had considerable experience in this line, and a large majority of the students admitted in this way turn out very well. Quite a number have graduated after having made up the requirements. They must make up their language studies; they must make up their physics and chemistry, and whatever else is required for graduation. It would not do to lower the requirements for graduation in any line. When a student is graduated, a kind of a stamp is put on the man which means that he has pursued a certain amount of study and that he has passed an examination in all those lines which are required for admission. The three years which Professor Magruder mentioned, occupy the place of four years in the West. Four years in Allis' shop in Milwaukee means simply an apprenticeship. The speaker knows of three students who had served their time at Allis', and who had graduated later from the University; they have turned out very well. The speaker appreciates the fact that a machinist who has worked four years at the machinist trade does not necessarily know very much about moulding or pattern making, and so it is not customary to give him credit for full shop work. А student is given credit for the amount which has been accomplished; if he is a machinist, he is given credit for that class of work, but he must go through the moulding and pattern making.
IS NOT TOO MUCH TIME GIVEN TO MERELY
MANUAL WORK IN THE SHOPS ?
BY W. H. SCHUERMAN,
Dean of Engineering Department, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
The question forming the title of this paper was one which the writer could not help asking himself while going through a mechanical engineering machine shop and noticing the kind of work that some students were doing and had done, and which seemed to him to require the expenditure of much more valuable time than the benefit derived justified. The subject of shopwork has been treated at previous meetings of this Society, directly in two papers (See Proceedings, Vol. II., p. 206 and Vol. III., p. 126) and incidentally in others and in discussions (See Proceedings, Vol. II., p. 243 and Vol. III., pp. 56, 270, 300). Professor Marx's paper at the Brooklyn meeting was, for want of time, read by title only and it was with the hope of obtaining more views on the subject that the preparation of this short paper was undertaken and the title put in the form of a question.
It being conceded that it is not an object of technical education to make mechanics or artisans, it does not seem to the writer that manual work in the shops should stand on the same plane as, or be considered of equal importance with drawing, laboratory or fieldwork, as has been contended by some members of this Society. The engineer will himself have to use some, if not all, of the instruments of the drawing room, laboratory and field, in his later practical experience